Serious Human Rights Abuses Directed at LGBT Populations in Every Region
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The State Department’s latest country human rights reports, released April 19, confirm the lack of respect that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people face in many areas of the world. However, the reports also point to a range of serious human rights abuses directed at LGBT populations in every region.
The Obama Administration has made a commendable effort to catalog instances and trends of LGBT abuse worldwide. We were pleased that Secretary Kerry specifically lauded the Department’s expanded coverage of LGBT rights in a speech marking the release of this year’s reports.
Of no surprise, hate crimes top the list of violent actions directed against LGBT people in many countries. But even more appalling, are the numerous instances of government officials’ complicity in LGBT abuse. For instance:
- In Jamaica, prison wardens reportedly were involved in numerous incidents of violence against gay inmates.
- In Chile, gay prisoners were denied access to hygienic services.
- In Libya, a government-affiliated brigade arrested, detained, and beat 12 allegedly gay men who were at a private party.
- A military unit in Moldova beat two gay men while verbally abusing them on grounds of their sexual orientation.
- Cameroonian police detained three men, and jailed them for a week, because two of the men appeared effeminate; beat them until they confessed to being gay; then sentenced them to five years in prison.
- In El Salvador, police officers allegedly physically abused a gay teenager, then made a phone call after which three gang members appeared and beat the teenager further.
- In Kyrgyz Republic, LGBT groups documented 18 cases of police extortion.
- Zimbabwean police raided the offices of an LGBT support organization; arrested 44 of its members; outed those members to families and employers (with consequences to jobs and family ties); and effectively closed the organization.
(Download a compendium of all sexual orientation and gender identity references in the 2012 report)
Pressure Builds on Ukraine to Reject Anti-LGBT Legislation
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For Immediate Release
Mark Bromley - Council Chair, 202-719-0511 x12,
Julie Dorf - Sr. Advisor, 202-719-0511 x13,
Washington, DC – March 13, 2013 –The Council for Global Equality applauds the 62 members of the U.S. Congress, who yesterday, called on Chairman Rybak of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, urging the country to refrain from passing pending anti-gay laws. These so-called “Homosexual Propaganda” laws clearly violate basic freedoms of assembly, speech, and press, with criminal sanctions of up to six years in prison for positive media portrayals of same-sex relationships or public gatherings for LGBT rights.
The bipartisan letter was led by Congressman Eric Swalwell of California who stated: “Ukraine in recent decades has made significant strides and commitments to human rights, but these bills threaten to create an environment that condones state-sanctioned discrimination against LGBT people. This is a clear violation of the fundamental freedoms that both of our countries respect and I urge the parliament to reject both of these bills.”
LGBT Americans Traveling Abroad
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Updated Forms for LGBT Families
This year the Bureau of Consular Affairs is focusing on family travel, and this includes LGBT families. Updated forms for parents applying for a child's passport (DS-11 form) have been released. The Bureau has also redesigned the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA). Both of these forms were updated to provide a gender-neutral description of parents that recognizes the many types of family structures, including same-sex parents.
The Council for Global Equality honors Ambassador Susan E. Rice, with the 2012 Global Equality Leadership Award
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Photo: Noah Devereaux
October 10, 2012 – The Council for Global Equality honored Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, with its 2012 Global Equality Leadership Award at a reception this evening at the home of Mitch Draizin and Fritz Brugere-Trelat. The award recognizes U.S. leadership in support of LGBT equality in the United States and abroad. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin was the last award recipient.
The Council for Global Equailty to Honor Ambassador Susan E. Rice
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The Council for Global equality is proud to announce the selection of, Ambassador Susan E. Rice, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as the recipient of the 2012 Global Equality Leadership Award.
Across her tenure, Ambassador Rice has spoken eloquently to the principle that, like all minorities, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people worldwide are entitled to the same protections, respect and rights accorded to others. Under her leadership, the United States joined the UN General Assembly in condemning violence, harassment, and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and led in restoring sexual orientation to a keystone UN human rights resolution against extrajudicial executions. By directing the full force of U.S. diplomacy to that issue, Ambassador Rice helped put LGBT rights on the UN agenda with an unprecedented new appeal to all countries in all regions of the world.
A Widespread Pattern of Abuses Against LGBT People Worldwide Featured Again in 2011 Human Rights Report to Congress
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Washington, DC – May 25, 2012 – The Department of State’s 2011 Human Rights Report, released yesterday, catalogues an ongoing range of abuses and discriminatory treatment directed at lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people worldwide – starkly underscoring what Secretary Hillary Clinton has called “…one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time.”
Speaking in Geneva last December, Secretary Clinton noted that, too often, LGBT people remain an “invisible minority,” members of which “…are arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed…” while “…authorities empowered to protect them look the other way or, too often, even join in the abuse.”
The newly released report bears witness to such abuse. Most disturbingly, it documents that police, other government security forces, and prison personnel have been implicated directly in the harassment or abuse of LGBT citizens in a range of countries, including (but not limited to) Afghanistan, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic, and Panama. Harassment and abuse often were directed in particular at transgender individuals. In Turkey, a range of LGBT organizations complained of harassment by police and government authorities. In Cote d’Ivoire, the report notes that “gay men were reportedly subjected to beatings, imprisonment, verbal abuse, humiliation, and extortion by police, gendarmes, and members of the armed forces.”
Council Releases NGO Guide to Human Rights
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The Council released a new NGO guide, Accessing U.S. Embassies: A Guide for LGBT Human Rights Defenders, to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).
The guide highlights the various diplomatic tools that U.S. embassies use to advance a range of human rights and development objectives, from diplomatic “démarches,” to support for LGBT refugees to the drafting of the annual human rights report that is required of every U.S. embassy. It also looks at various opportunities that exist for U.S. embassies to support, both technically and financially, LGBT advocates in host countries.
Download English (1.44 MB)
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Download Español (1.60 MB)
The global impact of Obama's support for gay marriage
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Photo: Pete Souza/AFP/Getty ImagesAs an LGBT rights advocate, I have experienced so many proud moments with our president. Our community in the United States can count a number of major achievements during President Obama’s tenure: an inclusive hate crimes law; the repeal of the US military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy; and the hugely important decision that the attorney general will longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.
Global Press and Organizational Statements on Secretary Clinton Human Rights Speech and the Presidential Memorandum
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Secretary Clinton made a powerful case on December 6, 2011 at the UN in Geneva for why the respect and fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people worldwide is of concern to the United States and the world. On the same day President Obama also released a Presidential Memorandum committing the entire U.S. government to support this important human rights agenda. You can watch the speech and see transcripts in English, 中文, Français, Español, or فارسی http://www.humanrights.gov/2011/12/06/human-rights-geneva/
The following list is a short compendium of the press that the speech and memorandum generated.
GENEVA — The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that the United States would use all the tools of American diplomacy, including the potent enticement of foreign aid, to promote gay rights around the world.
In a memorandum issued by President Obama in Washington and in a speech by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton here, the administration vowed to actively combat efforts by other nations that criminalize homosexual conduct, abuse gay men, lesbians, bisexuals or transgendered people, or ignore abuse against them. Read more.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a bold step for U.S. foreign policy (and common decency) by declaring in front of the United Nations yesterday that it is a "violation of human rights" to commit violence or discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation. In a moving speech to the U.N.'s human rights group in Geneva, Clinton tackled many of the common stereotypes leveled at gay people and called on other nations to eliminate laws that criminalize or marginalize homosexuals.
Today is truly a momentous day in human rights history. This morning President Barack Obama issued the first-ever executive memorandum dealing with the subject of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights worldwide and directing federal agencies working overseas to "promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons." Later, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered a landmark address on LGBT rights in recognition of International Human Rights Day at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Read more.
LGBT Activists from Around the World React to Secretary Clinton’s Speech
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Photo: U.S. Department of StateFor this historic moment in the LGBT movement, the Council for Global Equality was privileged to bring 14 prominent LGBT activists from around the world to Geneva to be present for Secretary Clinton’s Human Rights Day speech. The Council applauds both Secretary Clinton for the pitch-perfect speech as well as President Obama for yesterday’s vital Presidential Memorandum addressing the human rights of LGBT people worldwide.